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Wason Manufacturing Company


Wason Manufacturing Company

The Wason Manufacturing Company was a maker of railway passenger coaches and streetcars during the 19th and early 20th century. The company was founded in 1845 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Charles Wason (b. 1816) and Thomas Wason (b. 1811).[1]

Wason clients included the Michigan Southern Railroad (1846–1855), Alton Railroad, Central Railroad of New Jersey, Boston and Maine Railroad. By 1867 the company had about 300 employees.[1] The company made the first passenger coaches used on the Transcontinental railroad. One of these became the personal rail car of Leland Stanford, President of the Central Pacific Railroad.

Around 1900 Wason concentrated on manufacturing streetcars and electrified railway cars. Clients included the Manhattan Railway Company. The company became a subsidiary of J. G. Brill and Company in 1906. It continued to manufacture both streetcars and conventional railroad cars until 1932, when the Great Depression forced Brill to close the plant.[1]

One of the only surviving examples of a Wason coach can be found at the California State Railroad Museum's Railtown facility in Jamestown, California, located in the Sierra foothills. Wason streetcars on display at museums include an 1896 model at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum (Mass.)[2] and a 1901 model at the Connecticut Trolley Museum.[3]

See also


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